The State government has given up hopes of reviving 36 ‘C’ category mines in Ballari, Tumakuru and Chitradurga districts as they have been overexploited due to illegal mining.
As a result, the government is trying to salvage revenue by proceeding with auctioning of 15 mines in the three mining-ravaged districts. The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court had classified 51 mines in the three districts as having seen major illegal mining.
On Friday, at the Cabinet meeting in Kalaburagi, the government approved submitting a revised proposal before the Supreme Court, including the clarification the apex court had sought over the proposed auctioning of the ‘C’ category mines.
Officials say the Supreme Court, through the CEC, had sought certain clarifications over the process of auctioning, the number of mines to be auctioned and the nodal agency that will be in charge of the auctioning process.
The Mines department had already placed its proposal before the apex court and the CEC that it will implement most of the recommendations made by CRISIL, the consultant for studying the viability of the ‘C’ category mines.
Sources said mining companies have expressed interest for only 15 mines scheduled to be auctioned. According to an official, the other 36 ‘C’ category mines have gone beyond revival and will not earn any revenue to the State government. Of the 15 viable mines, 13 are located in Ballari and one each in Tumakuru and Chitradurga.
The government has said that the auctioning of the mines will be held as and when the detailed reports of the mines are submitted by the consultants to the government. The government has already received detailed reports on four mines and the consultants are expected to file reports on two more mines by December end. The government is expected to invite bids for these six mines by either December or January 2015.
The detailed reports on rest of the nine mines are expected to be submitted by March 2015, with auctioning likely to happen by April 2015. It is said that the government will prepare guidelines for auctioning the mines within the next 15 to 20 days, based on which the bids will be called for.
The Cabinet also gave its approval for reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) scheme for the three mining ravaged districts with an outlay of Rs 2,000 crore to be submitted before the Supreme Court. The proposal will be implemented through the Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Company Ltd (KMERC). It includes among others restoration of environment, forest, provision of drinking water, education, communication, transport, skill training, and agriculture. The government has clarified that the KMERC will step in for only major R&R plans, while leaving the rest to the local bodies.
The Cabinet also decided to lease out 15.31 acres of land in Ooty village of Devadurga taluk in Raichur district to the Hutti Gold Mines company for gold mining.